Weber State’s first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2007 is more than a reward for its seniors, exposure for the program and a chance to shock the basketball world. It’s a glimpse into the Wildcats’ future, which couldn’t be much brighter.

Although Weber will start seniors Davion Berry, Kyle Tresnak and Jordan Richardson in Friday’s tournament opener against Arizona, coach Randy Rahe’s rotation also includes four youngsters who form his next foundation.

Even if No. 16 seed Weber State loses to top-seeded Arizona — and the Big Sky Conference champions are 20-point underdogs — the NCAA experience for Joel Bolomboy, Richaud Gittens, Kyndahl Hill and Jeremy Senglin will be invaluable in the months and years ahead.

"The reins will be handed over to those guys, as our leaders," Rahe said. "It will be up to them to teach the players coming up behind them the culture of our program -- what we’re all about at Weber State ...

"Having the experience of winning the Big Sky championship and playing in the NCAA tournament allows them to speak from experience. And now their words are going to be pretty powerful."

Bolomboy, Gittens, Hill and Senglin have already made a huge impact at Weber State.

Bolomboy, a sophomore forward, was the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year. He averages 10.8 rebounds after grabbing at least 10 in 21 of 29 games.

Senglin, the Big Sky’s Freshman of the Year, averages 11.3 points. He became the team’s No. 3 scorer after being the first true freshman to start a season opener at Weber State since 1976.